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Community members design tiles for Antigo's legacy mosaic mural project

Erin Gottsacker

The Antigo community has embarked on its newest public arts project: the legacy mosaic mural. Students and community members are decorating individual clay tiles which will be pieced together to form several large mosaics at local schools.

Connie Greany smooths and flattens a block of clay in her hands, guiding a small group of students to do the same.

“This will be your personal tile,” she says. “So what you’ll do is you’ll take a chunk of clay, and first you’re going to roll it around in your hands. Just follow along with me.”

The students mold the clay into the shape of mittens and gloves and decorate their pieces with bold patterns and heart-shaped stamps.

Their embellished tiles are tiny pieces of a much bigger project.

“We have a precast concrete form that’s about eight feet long and three feet wide that will be covered with tiles. It’s like a big mosaic,” Greany explains. “One side will be a landscape and it will have a sunrise and sunset. The theme is belonging.”

Greany is a Wisconsin mosaic artist who is partnering with Antigo schools, Antigo Visual Arts, the Wisconsin Art Board and the National Endowment for the Arts to decorate the area’s schools.

Students and volunteers grout a past Legacy Mural with Connie Greany.
Antigo Legacy Mosaic Mural Project Facebook
Students and volunteers grout a past Legacy Mural with Connie Greany.

She’s working with every student in the city, along with teachers, bus drivers, community members, businesses and volunteers to tackle the project.

“My goal is to bring people together of different age groups and abilities and ideas,” she says. “So there have been a lot of ideas that have gone into this.”

When she’s done, each school will boast a community-made mosaic.

The project should be completed by the end of the school year.

It’s part of a concerted effort to increase public art in the community to spread beauty, joy and a shared sense of belonging.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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